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BR: Martha, could you tell us something about yourself I mean, where you were born, your parents, your childhood, how many brothers and/or sisters, where you lived.
MD: My story is a very "American" story. My mother was Irish and my father was Hungarian, both children of immigrants who came to America for a better life. I was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in New Jersey. There are seven children in my family - six girls and one boy! - and I am the middle child. Life was very active in our household with all those children, as you might imagine. As a child, I loved biking, reading, writing, and I enjoyed a marvelous fantasy life...I was a star reporter, a detective, a teacher, a poet, all within the walls of my bedroom.
BR: Could you tell us about your professional life? Before and after your marriage?
MD: I started out as a secretary at a small ad agency in New York City, and the man I worked for was a magnificent individual. He took me under his wing and taught me the advertising business, and I was promoted to an Account Executive. My love of the printed word took hold and I switched over to the magazine business working as an advertising sales representative. I spent seven years at Esquire, and during that time I received a number of promotions, ultimately becoming the Vice-President/Marketing Director for the company. I left Esquire in 1986 when I moved to Canada after my marriage to Peter. We stayed there briefly, and when we returned to the states, I went over to Conde Nast, a big publishing house, and became the Advertising Director for House and Garden Magazine. From there, I became the publisher on a start up hybrid newspaper/magazine called 7 Days. My job at 7 Days was thrilling, as we were doing very innovative work. I worked with a terrific group of people, and it was enormously challenging and fulfilling to build a fledgling publication. Although we had tremendous acceptance in the market, our owner decided to close the publication after two years. The week after we closed, we received a National Magazine Award for general excellence - I guess you could call that "poetic justice".
This break in work was a natural opportunity to begin our family, and Claudia was born one year later in 1991. I knew I did not want to commute into New York City, and made the decision to create an opportunity for myself in Connecticut which would allow me flexibility. It was at this time that Peter and I developed and launched The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine. Peter was the editor, and I was the publisher. As the magazine grew, it was too much for us to continue doing on our own, and we gave the magazine to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. We felt that we had created a strong template for the profession, and that it was a good time for them to take over and continue to build it.
Just as this was happening, we started North American Pharmacal. I was the "business side" and Peter was the "technical advisor/formulator". Our first and only product at that time was Ara-6 powder, and we were selling it in bulk as well as in the single units that we have today. The business started in our attic, and it rapidly took over our house. We moved into our first office space in 1996. That same year, Eat Right 4 Your Type was published, and we saw an opportunity to create a line of blood type specific products which supported the Blood Type Diet. The first products were Fucus and Taraxacum as they were simple to formulate and source and now we have over 50 products. Next year, we expect to launch a new line of Pre-Natal vitamins, a line of protein powders, and a woman's specialty formula. Peter's publisher will release Peter's latest work, Eat Right 4 Your Baby in the Spring of 2003. We are just in the process of copyediting the manuscript, and I was privileged to write the introduction. This book is really a "labor of love" as having our children was and continues to be the greatest and most rewarding collaboration Peter and I have ever undertaken.
Office space continues to challenge us as we are growing so rapidly, and I am just in the process of purchasing a building in Norwalk, Connecticut which I hope will be the "worldwide headquarters" for NAP for many years to come.
BR: Mothers are vital factors in the lives of their children. Tell us about your relation with your mother, and you being a mother yourself, of Emily and Claudia. Tell us about the relation with your daughters!
MD: My daughters are two of the greatest joys in my life. For many years, I thought I would not have children as I was very career focused. When the time came to start a family, I was quite nervous. But the moment I saw Claudia's face, my life changed forever. Claudia was born in 1991, and Emily followed in 1994. I learn from my daughters every day, and in each of them I see different aspects of myself. In many ways, this is similar to the relationship I had with my mother. We both had a piece of each other in us, and we grew up together. My mother was a strong woman, who worked very hard to raise her family. She had a wonderful sense of humor, and a deep faith in God. We enjoyed a close relationship, and she loved the time she had with our daughters before her death in 1998.
BR: We know from Peter's interview that you two met in his clinic. What kind of health problems did you experience to visit Peter's clinic? And how compliant are you since then with the BTD.
MD: My major health complaint when I saw Peter was stress - I traveled constantly for work, and I wasn't very focused on taking care of myself. He helped me turn that around and make my health a priority. I would say I am 80 - 90% compliant on the program in general, and when I am feeling stressed or worn out, my compliance goes to 95%-100%.
BR: Martha, you are married to Peter! How did you two meet, and enlighten us about the secret of your happy marriage!
MD: Many people have full and rewarding lives without children. For me, and for Peter as well, we would not be who we are today without our children. As we have raised them, they have raised us. They bring great joy and inspiration to us, along with those moments of total exasperation! Our marriage has been strengthened because of our children, and I believe the secret to this is no secret at all. It is respect - of your partner, of your children, of yourself. If you truly understand and have respect for each other, you leave room for each person's individuality, for their moods, for their self-expression.
BR: Martha, you have a busy life, being a mother, partner, running a busy household, being President of NAP. Are you at home often enough? Do you get criticism from your daughters?
MD: Life is full, and with the company going through a growth stage and with our daughters entering those pre-adolescent and adolescent years, there's a tremendous amount of work and coordinating of schedules. Each week, I put a lot of miles on the car, going from one place to another. I am fortunate that I have flexibility with NAP, so if one of the girls needs something, I can be there for them. Although the weekdays are full, we try very hard to keep weekends easy and family oriented. Just "hanging out" together is one of our favorite things to do.
BR: Being President of NAP is a tremendous job! Please give us an impression of how your average day looks like?
MD: It's funny, but no day is the same, and I try to look at a week's time to make sure I get it all in. I am up early every day, answering emails and managing my correspondence. During the school years, I get the girls together for school and drop them off. I either come back to the house, go to the office, or on Tuesday's and Thursday's go to karate class with Peter. I have weekly staff meetings to keep on top of NAP events, and I have weekly management meetings with German Ramirez, the CFO of NAP, and with Merita Peterson, the Customer Service Director, to make sure all the key aspects of our business are funning smoothly. Through the fall, I'll be heavily involved in the new building renovations and the move into the new space, so this will take a big chunk of my time.
BR: You live a fully occupied life! Is there still time left for your hobbies? And if so, what hobbies do you have?
MD: I have a number of hobbies. At the top of the list is karate, although it really is more than a hobby for me. It has become a very significant part of my life as it integrates a wonderful physical workout with a spiritual and energetic focus that is very grounding. All of us practice it, and we try to schedule some time each week where we can train together. I love reading, particularly good mysteries, wonderful novels and books on Jungian psychology. I love to garden, but I must admit I've been beaten down by the local deer population, so I am limited as to what I can do. We hope next year to fence in some of the property and create a zen-like space with beautiful plant specimens as well as some vegetables.
BR: How well organized is your household? We know already that Peter cleans floors with Swiffers and gets into trouble by doing so!! Do your daughters have tasks at home as well?
MD: Some days we are really well organized, and some days we are not. I am very aware that this reflects my state of affairs, so I try to work very hard to stay on top of this. Peter is a wonderful, active participant in our household as are the girls. As they get older, they get more involved which is terrific. They recently put together a chore list which says who takes out the garbage, who recycles, who's on dish patrol, who feeds which pet...we have 3! Marcel, our 6 year old bichon, Artemis, a 2 year old dwarf rabbit and Sebastian, a 2 year old hamster.
BR: Peter is an A. You are an O! O's stand for rationality, A's for emotionality! Or is there more to it? Please tell us about it!
MD: O's can be irrational, and A's can be emotional although these are general tendencies, each person is an individual with their own personal psychology and dynamic. Peter and I are extremely fortunate that we are in-tune with each other and can sense each other's moods even before they happen. When we are strong, we both can respond supportively to each other. When we are worn out, it's more difficult to do so. That's why we work so hard to keep ourselves grounded and balanced.
BR: What is it like to be married to a (for some years already!) worldwide famous man? And is there an effect of this fame on your daily lives?
MD: The important things to remember are that when we married seventeen years ago, Peter wasn't famous. He was simply his wonderful, brilliant self. And although he has achieved great notoriety in his life, he still is fundamentally the wonderful, brilliant self he was when I married him. He has never suffered from an inflated ego or become to full of himself. In many ways, his fame has made him more humble, as he is acutely aware of the dangers of "false gods". The only change this has made on our daily lives is that we have more to do and a greater sense of responsibility to do it well.
BR: Martha, I want to express my thanks for this open, honest interview giving our readership a full insight in your lives!! It is a gift of character to remain the persons you were many years ago! In Dutch we have an expression for it: 'Alleen sterke benen kunnen de weelde dragen' translated: "Only strong legs can carry the luxury." You both are great people!
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